I Am Not That

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Manuel Barroso Parejo

 

The walls of the room where I’ve danced for over thirteen years are made of thick wooden slats. Each one, about four inches wide, stained dark brown, offers a surface to push against, to create space between my body and a world that attempts, or has attempted, to close in on me, asking me to conform, to believe, to shrink, to silence myself, to become smaller, tighter, more like what I am expected to be.

But I am not that.

The body knows I am not what I’ve claimed to be.

Hands push against, hard against the slats, arms reaching to their full arc, feeling their full length, their full aliveness.

Hands pressed against the slats, feet firmly planted on the floor, I move to the beat, slowly arcing and arching out into fullness of being and expression. Something inside me pushes out, trying to return to its natural shape and arc and arch, trying to feel into what it remembers itself to be.

Space opens, virgin space between center and the arc of my full reach. Space opens, lungs expand, belly relaxes, hips soften, and big exhales come.

Suddenly there is room for soul, room to feel beyond body, to know that I am not this body yet beautifully and firmly rooted in and through flesh and bones.

Something inside knows it is not ‘in relation to’ but instead ‘simply is’. Something knows that all moves to be this or that could never be the expression of what it is.

What it is has no counterpart, no opposite, no comparison. What it is just is.

I find myself pushing away from… ideas and meanings and arguments. Not arguments as in arguing, but arguments as in crafting a cogent, logical premise and all of the words and ideas that must follow in order to substantiate my point and myself.

I find myself pushing away from… stating my case, needing to tell you how to be, needing to tell you how I should be, and needing to tell you anything about yourself.

Who am I to say?

I find myself pushing away from… separation, me here, you there, objectification, duality, and pushing into freedom where there is only one.

Outside of my mind and thoughts and rigidity, I find freedom. Freedom to just breathe, to feel the inhale and exhale on the soft skin just below my nose and above my upper lip. Freedom to feel the true spaciousness of soul as I shimmer and flow ever so gently as a stream. Freedom to listen for song, to feel appetite, to know the rise and fall of each wave of creation creating itself.

I lie on the day bed in virgin space, soft after three days soaking in pools of warm sulphur water, feeling waves of being, softly moving in and out, in and out, in and out, alongside breath. I move in and out.

Here, self is fluid space, silently becoming and dissolving with each breath, outside of the mind that conceives of. There is no longer an impulse to do anything, fix anything, change anything. It all just flows, on its own, in its own rhythm, beat and meter.

No river banks. No shore. No solidity. Just pulse, heart beat, rising, falling, contracting, expanding.

Everything is new and old, ancient and deep, virgin and light, growing and decaying, one sea.

::

photo by Manuel Barroso Parejo under creative commons zero

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Dark Times? Stay steadfast to the wisdom of your heart. You are in beautiful company.

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When I was a teenager, I would sit on my bed and listen to the folk songs of my era. Late sixties, early seventies was a beautiful time when much of the music offered a new way of seeing things. There was an energy in the air of Love, of the possibility of living differently.

I remember the feeling in my heart. I remember feeling this deep connectedness to Life.

I remember the Beauty.

I remember hope, a hope that seemed to have a powerful life of its own.

Lately, I’ve been listening to this music again. The Beatles, Neil Young, James Taylor, Carol King, Crosby Stills and Nash, were some of my favorites. When I listen, I feel those same feelings of connectedness and hope. But along with those, I also feel a steadfastness that comes from age and wisdom. I now know, as experience, things I only dreamed of back then. I now know that it is possible to make this shift to peace, to compassion, to Love.

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As a species, we are facing, and have been facing, choices that demand we find a new way of being, living, and creating in this world. The old way of domination and control have brought us to, not only other beings’ actual extinction, but the brink of our own.

I know it can be hard to stay with what you know in your heart when all around you are images, feelings, words, and rhetoric that attempt to manipulate and intimidate you to disbelieve what you know.

Do not listen to those voices that try to condemn you for your open and compassionate heart.

Do not listen to those voices that keep trying to push the illusion that might makes right, that toughness will always win out over compassion, reconciliation, and tenderness. 

Don’t listen to those voices, AND don’t close your heart to them. Those voices are inside you, too. They are inside all of us.

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.
The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”
~ Carlos Santana

Compassion, reconciliation, tenderness, and resiliency are qualities of the heart and they can be fierce in their commitment to love.

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Stay with your heart. Hold beauty there, the beauty that constantly graces us in each moment. Even in these difficult times there is beauty. And, beauty is not what we’ve been taught to believe it is. Beauty is all around us, in every moment, and you know it when you encounter it by its fiercely tender powerful effect on your being.

The forces against awakening to our oneness with all of life, both inside of us and outside of us, are still functioning from a belief of separation, one that manifests in forms of tribalism that many will tell you is how human beings are. Period.

But this is the opportunity at hand: to realize, both inside and out, that what we truly are is not this behavior that’s been lived out by humans over thousands of years. What we truly are is love, is compassion, is the One that breaths all of life.

The future for our children and their children is bleak if we do not make this leap of consciousness.

People will say over and over and over (I hear it all the time) that what we see in the world right now is proof of what we are. But do not believe it. Much of what we see in the world right now are the EFFECTS of believing what we’ve believed. We see now are the forms that our thoughts and beliefs and fears have created. AND, if you look and feel, really look and feel, the bright green new shoots of something new, very new, are here. They are the sprouts of a new way coming into being. Perhaps these sprouts have sprouted from the seeds that we sown back during those years of the music that guides us to something different.

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“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” ~John Lennon

When you doubt yourself, remember you are ‘not the only one’. You are in beautiful company. By staying steadfast to the wisdom of your heart, you invite others to join you. They will feel your steadfastness.

Until recently, I would let the words of others cause me to question my wisdom, what I know in my heart and soul. No more. There is no time for that.

Look at the new. Feel it in your body, in your heart, in your soul. The new is what is coming into being. Allow these shoots to spring forth in your heart. Allow them to perfume your words, your acts, your prayers, your song. Allow them to guide your action in the world. As long as you follow the truth in your heart, you do not have to know where you, or we, are headed. You cannot know. But your heart can guide you.

May you know that you are always graced with beauty even in what seem to be such dark times. Hold beauty in your heart. It is a form of prayer for your more loving, fiercely loving, nature to pour forth.

::

ps This post was fueled by darjeeling tea and serenaded by sixties music. If you sit still and listen, you just might feel that transmission.

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Being Woman. Supple. Unified. Amplified.

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Anjali, by Ramona Klee on Flickr

She is here.

If you sit, quietly listening with heart ears, feeling with heart touch, you will know Her. She has been on her way. A few years ago, the author, Arundhati Roy, wrote,

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

And, now… She is no longer on her way… She is here.

With the turn of this solstice, She is here.

She is here. In all beings. In all of life. 

A new way of being

I’ve been working with two beautiful women to birth something new in business. We don’t really yet know what it is or how it will come to be, but we know we are to be doing this together. We are feeling our way, trusting our intuition, following the petals as they are scattered upon our path, trusting in the intelligence inherent in life.

This is the new way. This is the creative way, the way of trusting in life to guide us as we work together in unity. I remember telling a friend a few years back how much women needed to find solidarity, find a way to realize our wholeness as women, both individually and collectively. At the time, the current paradigm separated women rather than joined them. At the time, there was still so much competition between women, and beliefs that we had to compete with each other for love. But that was then, and this is now.

She is here.

Rainer Marie Rilke wrote of this over 100 years ago when he wrote Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke wrote,

“Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more confidently, must surely have become fundamentally riper people, more human people, than easygoing man, who is not pulled down below the surface of life by the weight of any fruit of his body, and who, presumptuous and hasty, under-values who he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, borne its full time in suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she will have stripped off the conventions of mere femininity in the mutations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching today will be surprised and struck by it. Some day… some day there will be girls and women whose name no longer signify merely the opposite of masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the female human being.”

Unity: This Humanity of Woman

Over the last period of time, a time that ended with the solstice and the birth of a new way of being, women were taught to not trust each other. We were conditioned to believe that it was in our best interest to compete with each other. I feel we were all, men and women, taught this, yet for women the distrust went deeper for in the old way, under the patriarchy, men were offered a kind of belonging within the structure that women were not.

Healing this distrust of women has been a beautiful journey for me. And, I hear it has been the same for other women. Now, in this new time, there is more ease and more support for this healing.

Shannon Port of The Art of the Feminine writes,

“Women are uniting in the Heart. We are remembering that we are One Woman. We could never really compete with each other for anything. The illusion taught us that we could be threatened by another woman. It taught us a false belief that we had to compete for love. This has never been so.  …  The old paradigm divided women and caused them to work against each other keeping them from UNITY. The support for this paradigm has left the planet. Anyone who chooses to stay in it will be shaken quite dramatically. We are moving into the knowing of our Oneness. When we align with Oneness willingly, we will be supported by the Universe in ways we never even imagined. The Feminine is being restored to its auspicious place in the World. Those who hold this Vibration of Love in their Heart will be the Teachers, Healers and Leaders of the New Era.”

Amplify

This humanity of woman, this One Woman, is here.

Can you feel Her? Can you feel this burgeoning unity? Can you feel it both within yourself, and within the collective as well? Notice the shift in coming together.

One of my new partners, Jennifer Kenny, speaks of amplification – just how important it is for women to amplify each other’s work in the world. Jennifer sees amplification as the opposite of competition. We can amplify with joy and with love, for not only is there more than enough love in the world, by amplifying we bring ourselves together and aligning ourselves with Oneness. When we follow the thread of Oneness, we amplify not only women’s voices, but also women’s creations into the world.

I used to feel solidarity was so important because it felt as if we were fighting the nature of the patriarchal paradigm and how the paradigm itself made it so difficult for us to know this humanity of woman. Perhaps I was feeling the different energy that was here at the time. Now, with this new shift, we are actively supported in this amplification. Whether we work together through collaboration, spend time in circles sharing, or share each other’s work into the world, the new way is of amplification, of celebrating, of flowing and aligning with Oneness.

It is Simple

Hilary Hart, author and wise woman, shares this about women and power on her Facebook page, Women’s Power Wheel:

“It is simple. It is simple like breathing. It is simple like gathering with friends. It is simple as standing in nature and knowing you are not alone. The trick is trusting how simple real power is… sensing it… knowing it… and not doubting it…”

When I read these words, I feel a softening and a suppleness to my body and breath that have been absent for most of my life. With these words comes an ease in the moment, when I relax into the simplicity of real power.

It may take time to know this more and more. I’ve been well conditioned to believe power not only looks different, but comes from doing. Yet, it is simple. This is being, coming together, and receiving, then offering up, what has always been so generously given – this life.

When I woke up this morning, these words were in my heart: It is so, so easy to take this all for granted, to expect this breath, this sun, this day to come just like it has each morning of our lives, to expect to receive without ever a thought of what is being given.

May today mark a change in how I receive these things…with conscious awareness of the love being so freely given and the opportunity in each breath to offer it back out in love.

The Feminine. She is here. She is you. She is me. She is women. She is men. She is us. She is all beings. She is life.

She is the Goddess.

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the Note of Love

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Sunset Light at Lands End
Sunset Light at Lands End

Spring is here. At least it feels like Spring is here, even if it is February 8th. St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, is thought to be the beginning of Spring in Ireland…and maybe here, too, judging by our weather.

The beginning of Spring does something to me. The lovely bits and pieces that I’ve kept warming by the fire during the cold and wet winter months come alive with the first warm rays of the sun.

It was a beautiful 72 degrees here, yesterday. We took a walk out at Lands End, the line of coast that wraps around San Francisco’s northwestern outermost tip. The light was amazing, as evidenced by the colors and shadows on these trees, above, just prior to sunset.

We had dinner out at a wonderful Thai restaurant, finishing it out with Hot Coconut Cake, a specialty recipe from the owner’s Mother-in-law in Thailand. The owner told us this cake is not sold in restaurants in Thailand, but is only available as street food.

Yesterday, was a day filled with so much life. And,

This past week, so much of my focus has been on dying, on being with, along with many others, someone I loved and respected deeply as he let go into death. Sitting in his room at the hospital, I could smell the blossoms just outside the window. The warm temperatures invited the trees to blossom, and blossom they did. The moments were a bit surreal.

In today’s walk, I could see signs of life springing up again.

I came home to find this very important video by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi Sheik I quote quite often. He is a mystic who sees what is coming, and shares profound guidance as to how to be of service during these times.

I can’t share the video here; but, you can watch it here. Please do. In fact, watch it a few times. He is sharing such important information for us all to know.

In the video, he asks,

“Do you work with what is dying, or do you work with what is coming into being?”

A powerful question, indeed.

In Llewellyn’s video, he shares that the note of love that hits the bell of creation has changed, and with that change, “life will begin to manifest in a different way.”

As I sat with Emmett, last week, it was so important to me to love him, deeply. In those moments, it felt so totally clear that what I could offer was love and letting go. I could be with, in the state of love, without trying to save, fix or change things. For if it is really time to die, then the greatest gift is to not interfere, but to let go.

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I Begin Here

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It seems as though my last post, Listening Into Liberation, resonated with many of you. The comments you left were insightful posts unto themselves. They touched me deeply.

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“The future of humanity will be decided not by relations between nations, but by relations between men and women. ” D.H. Lawrence

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I realize that I know very little, if anything, about the answers to how liberation into wholeness can unfold. And at the same time, I absolutely know that wholeness is our inheritance, and that our true nature is already whole.

I know that consciousness is seeking to know itself, to awaken fully into wholeness.

I know that my rational mind can’t understand it, even if it thinks it can.

I know that I have a deep longing to heal into wholeness, and to be liberated from these ties and snares that keep me falling back into the false beliefs of our culture, that:

  • women are secondary to men,
  • the feminine is something to fear,
  • the masculine is bad
  • women have to apologize, constantly, for something not quite known
  • men must be taken care of
  • men and women can’t trust each other
  • women are inherently jealous of, and hostile to, each other
  • I, as a woman, will be more safe and secure in my relationships, and in the world at large, if I ‘pretend’ to be good, compliant, selfless, small…in short, something I am not.

These are just a few of the notions I (and others I know) have believed in the past, or continue to believe right now. Is there anything else you might want to throw in here?

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“…re-examine all you have been told at school or church, or in any books, and dismiss whatever insults your soul.” ~ Walt Whitman

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We’re told many things about women, about men, and about our worth, our value, how we should be with each other. We’ve been conditioned by parents, by our schooling, by the church, by the culture, by the media…

I can see the most necessary and important thing I can do to begin, is to question all of my beliefs. Period. Even my most treasured beliefs, the ones I cling to that give me a sense of righteousness, or a sense of safety and security. This is really about questioning the small, yet sometimes very loud and insistent, roommate in my head that wants me to believe these things so I will stay ‘in the tribe’.

I know liberation into wholeness will not come by hanging onto my beliefs. It will not come if I hang on to anything I have to believe in, because if I believe in something, it means I don’t really know the truth of it. If I did, I wouldn’t need the belief.

All of Life is Sacred

One thing I know is that all of life is sacred. I know this. I don’t have to believe it, because I experience it. I witness the sacred looking out your eyes. I hear the sacred in your voice. I feel the sacred in your touch. I taste the sacred in your kiss. Everything is alive with the sacred. Everything.

We are breathed, we are fed, we are loved, and we are held by the sacred. All is infused with the sacred. When we don’t see this sacredness, it’s because we believe the conditioning that tells us differently.

Patriarchal conditioning teaches us to fear matter, to fear that which is here right under our noses. Patriarchal conditioning is about fearing the feminine in us all, but most especially in women, because we embody the sacredness of the feminine life principle. Patriarchal conditioning tells us to transcend rather than embody. Yet, it is through the body that I experience, that I enter into relationship with you, with woman, with man, with life.

I know I begin here, with my own experience that all of life is sacred. Somehow it’s easy to see this sacredness in children. I see their innocence. Yet, this same innocence is alive in us all.

I begin with this innocence, this wonder and amazement that are naturally a part of being alive and aware. The only thing I can know, truly know, is what my experience shows me.

I long to know you, to listen to woman, to listen to man.

Wholeness is about Oneness, about no longer experiencing division within and division without. I have to begin here, where I am, seemingly still ensnared by beliefs, but willing to look to see what is here, what is true, what is so. And, then acting on that knowing, to move with truth, rather than shrink away from it.

The roommate believes it won’t be easy. Yet, the longing is much stronger than the roommate’s resistance.

And, you?

I’d love to be in conversation with you.

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The Internet is Alive

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When an idea reaches critical mass there is no stopping the shift its presence will induce.
~Marianne Williamson

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What if the Internet, itself, was spiritual in nature? This is a question I wondered about back in 2001, when I designed and wrote a thesis on Spirituality and the Internet. My ideas at the time were roughly hewn. I had just finished three years doing a lot of coursework in design, computer science, and digital art. The project was to create a spiritual space on the Internet. But, the deeper message, was that the Internet itself was a spiritual space, simply in its form – following on the form follows function idea.

On this same idea, just today, two very interesting and timely articles fell into my lap, by way of – you guessed it – the Internet.

The first, Saudi women revel in online lives, written by Caryle Murphy, gives us a small glimpse into how the internet is opening up the world to women in Saudi Arabia.

In a country where about one-third of the population regularly goes online, the internet gives women “a place to vent out our frustrations and our dreams,” said Reem Asaad, 37, a professor of banking and finance in the Saudi port city of Jeddah who blogs at reemasaad.blogspot.com.

It also has allowed women who normally are “physically invisible” to participate more actively in Saudi society, Asaad added.

“From the authorities’ viewpoint,” she explained, “so long as women are behind a curtain, or a screen, and so long as they are not before a camera or walking down the street, then everything is fine. Women are free to do anything they want as as long as they aren’t seen, heard or spotted doing it by men.”

When I read the words “physically invisible”, my heart felt a sharp pain of sadness and despair. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels to be physically invisible. Feeling into what it might be like to be hidden in such a way stimulated a deep sense of compassion for all women who are experiencing this. Obviously, I don’t know what this is like. And, of course, I am projecting my own fears and feelings onto the story here. But, from one woman to another, from one soul to another, I feel for these women.

To read on and see how the internet is bringing them into connection and out of such separation brought a sense of possibility for what might be, how the world could shift simply through the Internet. To shift this way, we have to see that the Internet is the means for connection, something I believe we are beginning to understand more deeply each day.

After sitting with these thoughts, the second article fell into my lap (or I should say, landed in my inbox). The Internet as a Living Symbol of Global Oneness, written by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D., a Sufi teacher and author, is an extremely important article on Huffington Post. It could change the nature of how we experience, and use, the Internet.

“I believe that the Internet is a gift we have been given. It provides an image of how the energy of life can flow freely in a way that defies the barriers of nationality and geography. Yet sadly because we are so immersed in the surface activity of this technology, in its tools of commerce and communication, we do not realize its deeper, symbolic dimension. A symbol is a connection to the sacred ground of our being which alone gives real meaning to our daily life. The Internet, as a living symbol of global oneness, offers us a direct connection to an awareness of divine oneness (italics mine). But because we have lost touch with the symbolic dimension of life, we do not fully recognize this potential of the Internet: as a dynamic expression of a new consciousness of oneness that has within it access to energies and means that can unify our divisive world (italics mine). If we were awaken to its real potential, we would be truly in awe–and we would laugh, with wonder, at life’s capacity to recreate itself while we are not even looking.

What does it mean to shift to seeing the internet as a symbol of global divine oneness? What does this mean for our everyday use of the Internet?

I can see, now, that all my attention back in 2001 on this notion of connection through the Internet was coming from intellectual and psychological perspectives. The internet as a dynamic symbol? A brand new door of understanding and knowing.

The Internet as this symbol feels deeper and richer. It feels alive. It is alive. It is dynamic. It has energies and means within it to bring about the awareness of oneness that already exists. We aren’t in control here. Yet, we can, if conscious, align with this potential inherent in the “gift we have been given”.

We can see ourselves in connection with others out there, like these women in Saudi Arabia who are now experiencing a new kind of visibility. We can know we are moving within this dynamic consciousness of oneness as we bring our own gifts to the interplay of connection and expression. We don’t have to figure out how to use this. We can’t figure it out. It knows. It is alive. We can trust in its aliveness. We can move with it.

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One thing I do know: the importance of connecting women, in order to awaken the vital energies of healing and nourishment that lie dormant in the cells of our bodies – to awaken the primal sacred feminine nature of women’s creativity. We won’t fully bring to life this force within that is pushing to awaken, if we stay hidden, invisible and alone in isolation. We will awaken in community. We have been given the gift. How will we use it?

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And, you?

How have you already experienced this divine oneness? How does knowing this change your perspective on the Internet? How might you being to move with it?

What if simply knowing the Internet as a living, dynamic manifestation of oneness were the idea that needs to reach critical mass that Marianne Williamson speaks of? How might things shift?


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Creativity, Conscious Experience and Authentic Expression of Women

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I have been intrigued by creativity since I was young, and now it is what I do for a living. Pretty cool. I wanted to share these thoughts with you. Perhaps they will trigger something you know already about who and what you are. Perhaps they will be an invitation to begin turning back to yourself to inquire into your own nature. Perhaps they won’t intrigue you at all. Take a look and see what you feel…

By design, you are creative.

By design, you are, and always have been, whole.

By design, you are unique, yet One with everything in existence.

By design, you are Essence experiencing and expressing through a human body that has a gender.

By design, you are part of the Great Intelligence that creates and destroys, that moves through all of existence that is the creatrix and the created.

As concepts you know this, but do you know this as experience?

Do you trust the uniqueness and intelligence of your design as a creative being?

Do you have faith in your own raw, unmediated experience and expression?

When you trust in your creativity, and unbind your heart and body, a faith in your full expression emerges. Faith in this expression opens up a whole new world to you, a world in which you trust yourself to meet life as it comes to you. Give it a whirl!

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